There are 2 types of comedies: those that make you laugh the first time around but don’t hold up on repeat viewings, and those that get better every time you watch them. I laughed my ass of at Tropic Thunder and Anchorman in the theaters, but somehow when I watched them again months later on the small screen, they had lost much of their luster. There are others, though, too many to name, in fact, that actually get funnier the more you watch them. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Night Shift (1982): Though now a bit dated, this 80s classic starring Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton and Shelley Long is a real gem and still, nearly 30 years later, extremely funny. Chuck Lumley (Winkler) and Bill Blazejowski (Keaton) were polar opposites who worked the night shift together at a city morgue, developed an oddball friendship and somehow ended up being pimps for half the city’s prostitutes, including the lovely Belinda (Long), Chuck’s neighbor. He and Belinda fall for each other, bringing more absurd antics into the plot, and the end product is a movie not easily forgotten.
Wedding Crashers (2005): I saw this twice in the theater and bought the DVD as soon as it became available. Literally, the first half-dozen or so times I watched it, I’d pick up on something (a line or expression, a gesture or a phrase) I hadn’t before noticed, probably because I was too busy laughing my ass off. For those of you hidden under a rock for the past few years, the flick centers around John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn), two singletons who crash weddings every spring with the intent to seduce the lovelorn bridesmaids. Wilson and the many talented supporting actors (Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, and Isla Fisher, to name a few) earned dozens of laughs but, for me, Vince Vaughn stole every scene he was in. His facial expressions and the ridiculous things that came out of his mouth were uproariously funny, and got better each time around.
Waiting… (2005): So far from your standard comedy, or standard ensemble flick, this movie crossed so many lines. The story revolves around Dean (Justin Long), a disgruntled server at Shenaniganz who is sluggishly working his way through an Associates’ Degree. He’s dissatisfied with the path his life has taken yet is reluctant to make any changes. His co-worker and close friend, Monty (the outrageous Ryan Reynolds) is a sharp-tongued womanizer and the two of them, along with most of their male co-workers, play a homophobic flashing game during which the flasher surprises his colleague with his exposed penis, then berates the flashee for being a homosexual. Anna Faris and Ryan Reynolds steal the show, for the most part, but every one of the supporting actors gets their fair share of laughs.
Just Friends (2005): Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris reunite in this ridiculous comedy about a man who returns to his hometown the week of Christmas to face the woman who broke his heart in high school. Ten years later, and 100 pounds lighter, Chris Brander (RR) confronts his unrequited love (the charming Amy Smart) while trying to keep Samantha James, the pop princess he’s unhappily hooked to (played by a hysterical Anna Faris), out of trouble over the holiday. It’s a screwball comedy, for sure, and full of shameless absurdities, but each and every time I’ve seen it, I’ve laughed at some silly thing previously unnoticed. The chemistry of all the characters and the holiday feel balance out its folly, making it well worth multiple viewings.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008): This film got a lot of hate, but hate all you want, I say, because Zack and Miri made me laugh nearly from start to finish. Two long-time best friends (Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks) fall on hard times, decide to make a porno to raise some cash and unwittingly fall in love. Not your typical romantic comedy, I’ll admit, but it’s a hell of a lot funnier than your typical rom-com, and way raunchier. The supporting cast are hilarious and Justin Long’s cameo early in the film is a highlight – in fact that whole High School Reunion scene is, by itself, worth watching repeatedly.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008): Every scene in this seriously under-rated comedy is rampant with hilarity. Jason Segel, as the heart-broken Peter, and Russell Brand as the rock star who stole his girlfriend, bring about the most laughs, but that’s not to say that any other character is lacking. I’ve seen this flick so much, I’ve mostly got it memorized and yet, if I were to watch it right now, I bet my teeth I’d laugh as though it were my first time.